Name: Toni Settles
Based: Washington, D.C.
Time of Interview: 9:54 a.m.
What’s your normal morning routine like?
When I open my eyes in the morning, the first thing that I do is express gratitude to the creator for blessing me with another day. The second thing that I do is write the main thing that I want to accomplish for the day down on a piece of paper or on my bedroom mirror. This practice helps me keep my focus throughout the day and stay on track. After that is complete, I brew some coffee, shower, get dressed, and last but not least wake up my kid (he is not a morning person). After about 10 minutes of bribing the kid out of his bed I help him get ready for his day at school.
What was your inspiration behind the overall theme of Andrew and the Time Machine Closet?
The inspiration behind Andrew & The Time Machine Closet is my son. I wanted to leave him with a legacy, something that he could look back on and be proud of and inspired by once I am long gone. The inspiration behind Andrew & The Time Machine Closet does not fall solely on my son, but all the children of the world who look like my son, they all inspired me to write this children’s book series. They deserve books that places them on a pedestal and celebrate who they are in their full glory.
What was your son’s initial reaction to being apart of your book?
He loved it, he kept flipping through the pages and smiling ear to ear and saying “Mommy, that’s me and I am standing next to a king!” It was an amazing moment!
How important is it to you to implement knowledge of African history to your young African American readers? Was that always one of your goals of the book?
Being able to create a children’s book that highlights the history of indigenous people of the continent Africa and beyond is paramount. So much culture and history was lost in translation, or shall I say was lost during the transatlantic slave trade. African-American’s are a people stripped of their language, culture, and history and most importantly their identity. We are tree without roots. It was important for me to create a children’s book for children of color that they could learn from in a fun and entertaining way.
Andrew & The Time Machine Closet book series will not only expose young readers to African history, but future books in the series will explore other indigenous cultures around the world.
Having a degree in history, you have a firm knowledge of influential figures of our time, in a way you’re channeling that knowledge creatively into your writing. Was that always the plan?
Yes, the plan was to showcase influential figures creatively in a way that children could relate to them. I wanted to channel my knowledge base in such a way that children could connect with those who have come before them and accomplished great things, I wanted children to be inspired and motivated by these influential figures deeds.
Has the impact and connection to readers from The Gold King inspired you to branch out to merchandising or even a cartoon/film?
Yes, of course. I am currently working on a few projects that will ensure that Andrew & The Time Machine Closet is a household name. It is my desire to provide our children with a cartoon that is not only entertaining and engaging but has what most cartoon lack these days, substance.
When can we see the next installment of Andrew & The Time Machine Closet, and where can people pick up The Gold King?
The next installment of Andrew & The Time Machine Closet is entitled “The Warrior Queen”, the time-traveling 9 year old time-travels to ancient Nubia and meets the strong and courageous queens who reign during the 4th century. This installment is slated to be released summer 16’.
Books and other merchandise can be purchased by visiting andrewandthetimemachine.com.
It was pleasure being interviewed, thank you for having me!